Vision Zero, Zero Harm, … WTF?

The launch of a “Vision Zero” campaign about occupational health and safety (OHS) was a major element of the recent World Congress on Safety and Health at Work but it has created confusion and some alarm.

The Secretary-General of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) Hans-Horst Konkolewsky told SafetyAtWorkBlog that Vision Zero “is not a Zero Harm campaign”.  However confusion appeared on the first day of the Congress when an organisation was given a Vision Zero award for a safety program that the organisation has just and repeatedly described as “Zero Harm”.

The best solution to this confusion is to ignore the Vision Zero branding and look at the intentions and resources behind the razzamatazz.  If you do, there is a lot of good information.

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Singapore’s Prime Minister shows mature approach to OHS

Lee Hsien Loong centre)

It has been noted that the recent World Congress on Safety And Health at Work had “Vision Zero” as one of its three themes.  It was curious that the opening remarks of Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong (pictured right), did not mention Vision Zero at all.  In fact he was quite measured in his speech which placed him in a better position to argue for real safety targets and initiatives.

In contrast to many business leaders, and some of the speakers at the World Congress, the Prime Minister stated that

“workplace accidents and injuries are almost always preventable.”

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People Centred Prevention should not be a new concept

The World Congress on Safety and Health is physically and mentally exhausting.  Physically, simply because of its size.  Mentally because there is so much information.  Some that confirms your occupational health and safety (OHS) approach and others that conflict with what you know. Some information that seems incredibly dated and anachronistic but you look around and this seems new and wonderful to other delegates.

A major theme of the Congress was “People Centred Prevention” (PCP). This is one of the anachronisms. Wasn’t OHS always about keeping people safe?  If this theme had originated in the United Kingdom, it could have been contextualised as redressing the red tape attack on OHS regulation by previous governments – bringing the humanity back to OHS – but it is being proposed in this Congress as a significant change of focus and perspective.

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Zero, health and people – themes of the World Congress on Safety & Health

In front of thousands of delegates and dignitaries, the 21st World Congress on Safety and Health was officially opened yesterday by the Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

There are three themes of this conference:

  • Vision Zero – From Vision to Reality
  • Healthy work—Healthy life
  • People-centred prevention
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Marnie Williams talks of farm safety, responsibility and a radical future

WorkSafe Victoria’s CEO, Marnie Williams, has had a horrid week. Last Saturday, while being ill with a cold, she stood in for the Victorian Industrial Relations Minister at a Migrant Worker Forum, at which she was asked “what you gonna do about it?”. However she continues to make herself available, a crucial element for any leader of a regulatory agency.

Farm Safety

A couple of days later at a safety conference run by the Safety Institute of Australia,  SafetyAtWorkBlog accused WorkSafe of not doing enough about the safety of Victorian farmers. Williams rejected the accusation and forecast a new, and surprising, approach for agricultural safety.

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